Winter is Here! Running Tips for a Successful Winter Season

Winter is Here! Running Tips for a Successful Winter Season

Winter is officially upon us! For some people winter is the perfect time to hunker down at home and catch up on their reading or the latest Netflix binge, however, for runners it can be a tough time. Winter weather is typically less than ideal for running outdoors, and it is especially frustrating because of how inconsistent it is. While you may be able to sneak in a run here or there outside, between frigid temps, less daylight, and potentially icy conditions, it can lead to a lot of treadmill running to avoid skipping a run.

So, if you’ve ever found yourself getting a little stir crazy over the winter season, you’re not alone! That’s why we put together some of our best ideas to tackle the treadmill and avoid burnout that winter training can often bring.

  1. Take the glass half full approach! Some people want to Netflix and Chill, but you can Netflix and TREAD! Use the treadmill as an opportunity to catch up on your favorite Netflix show or even your favorite podcast. This is multi-tasking at its finest and is sure to distract you from your “run to nowhere”.
  2. Take advantage of all the treadmill has to offer. The treadmill is a very effective tool for speed training and incline running. Take advantage of this and plan out various runs that involve speed and/or hill intervals. This will not only break up the run into smaller, more manageable parts, but it will also give you a leg up (literally!) as you go into spring running season. Incline and Speed training will help build lower body strength that will help improve overall times both indoors and outdoors come springtime. Not sure where to start? Get with a running coach or check out apps like Peloton, Nike Run Club, and Tone It Up, all of which have guided speed training workouts.
  3. Keep an eye on the weather! Download a weather app, check your local news listings, put your local weatherman on speed dial (just kidding!). But seriously, watch the weather and plan your runs accordingly. When the weather is nice enough to head outdoors, take the opportunity to get out there and log some mileage. On days where it may be icy or too cold to safely run outdoors, take it to the treadmill. While the weather is unpredictable, you can stay on top of it by being aware and able to adapt. Sometimes it is worth it to switch speed work and outdoor runs around in order to hit the road on a sunny day! Same for vice versa. If the weather ruins your outdoor run, adapt! Switch to speed that day and change your outdoor run to another day that week.
  4. Find a workout buddy! Exercise is always fun with a friend! If you’re dreading the treadmill, invite your running buddy to join you at the gym. There’s no rule that says you can only run together outdoors!
  5. Change it up and add cross training to your routine. Any well-rounded running program includes cross-training at least one day per week. This is a great workout to take indoors and save for a rainy (or icy) day. Indoor cross training ideas include the following:
    1. Indoor Cycling
    2. Walk on the treadmill
    3. Weightlifting
    4. At home workout app/class
    5. Group fitness class such as boxing, HIIT, cycling, yoga, Pilates, etc.
  6. Finally, use the treadmill to train your mental toughness. One of the most famous running quotes out there is that “Running is 90% mental”. No training cycle is easy, treadmill or no treadmill, and as runners we have to do hard things. Using the treadmill is one of those tough things that in the moment may not be your favorite, but it is a whole lot better than skipping a run (or multiple runs) all together. Instead of dreading it, embrace it as an opportunity to practice breaking through mental barriers that will translate into more mental toughness come race day. Below are two mental tricks to use on the treadmill:
    1. Break down the run into smaller parts. Mentally check off each part of the run as you pass it during your run! This is something that can be done BOTH outdoors and indoors.
    2. Stay distracted! Cover the distance/screen with a towel and focus on the environment around you, your breathing, and your form. Practice clearing your mind and controlling what you can control which is positive vs. negative self-talk and good running form.

Overall, the treadmill has a lot to offer, especially in comparison to cancelling a training run, so embrace it! Remember, winter is only temporary, as is your treadmill running, and you’ll be back to hitting the pavement in no time! Happy Winter and Happy Holidays!

Written by: Ashley Morrison

Ashley has over 17 years of running and racing experience and is both NASM CPT and RRCA Certified. For more running tips and tricks, find Ashley at Run With Ashley on Instagram or on her website and blog.

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